Vil'kitskogo ice has so far failed to yield, forcing Flanagan to rethink options 9/8/07

Adrian Flanagan has passed through the Dimitriya Lapteva Strait and into the Laptev Sea – the third of seven seas he will have to cross before sighting British soil (including the Chukchi Sea, East Siberian Sea, Laptev Sea, Kara Sea, Barents Sea, Norwegian Sea and North Sea). Coming through the strait in a dead calm was followed by 30 sleepless hours bashing into a ferocious westerly. Next Adrian has the ice to contend with:

“Reports from home show that the pack in the vicinity of the Vil’kitskogo Strait is still at 90% – 100% cover. In other words, impassable. Although the ice melt pattern for this year has so far closely resembled 2005, when the ice edge receded to its historical extreme minimum, the Vil’kitskogo ice has so far failed to yield. I contacted West Marine Operations HQ to suggest that I find an anchorage close to the ice to wait for the recede, which should happen through August. WMOP suggested either Stolbovoy Island, which at the time I received the message was 30 miles north of my position, or alternatively to make for a small settlement called Tiksi.

“In the end I decided to press on following the inshore shipping lanes westwards, staying below latitude 74 north to avoid drift ice. When I am as far west as I can get then I will begin the slow advance north towards the Strait of Vil’kitskogo as the ice withdraws. It may be that I will have to hold station until early September before a channel from the east opens through Vil’kitskogo, if one opens at all.”

Position 72.56 N 132.47 E